Ah, the Circular Economy… It is a term you may have heard, you may have no idea about or you may have an expert understanding of. The phrase Circular Economy (CE) is used more and more today as a viable solution to our enormous waste problem, so it is important we have a grasp on it. Enter Responsible Cafes with an awesome guide to understanding the Circular Economy, and specific to cafe culture!
A sneaky culprit responsible for a long list of problems for our planet is our linear approach to waste – that is taking from the planet, making something, using it once and then disposing of it. This is causing some big problems!
Circular Economy thinking rejects this disposable culture. Of course, it is easy to live within the parameters of a linear waste system, but at what cost? CE thinking may require more brain power and imagination, but we could talk all day long about its benefits.
To have a 5-star CE system, we must consider all elements of the cafe supply chain which means taking a look at a product and seeing the natural resources used in its creation, the factories which made it, the fuel used to transport it and the energy used to get rid of it.
There are 3 core principles to building a circular economy within a cafe.
Up first is designing out waste and pollution. It is much easier to deal with waste when there is less of it in the first place! A simple cafe solution here is encouraging customers to use a cup swap service which quickly decreases the number of disposable coffee cups being used. Let’s stop the problem before it is even created.
Next is keeping products and materials in use. Quality over quantity – always! Use products with a longer life cycle than can be reused or have already been reused. A great example is using reused or recycled materials with your interiors, crockery, glassware and even napkins. Tables could be built from wooden offcuts, and cooking oil can be delivered in reusable containers. Get creative – the solutions are endless!
Finally, regenerate natural systems. Some waste may be unavoidable, but if we put this waste back into making something else, it can help regenerate our natural world! The best solution to this is composting. Yes it requires a little extra organisation in the kitchen… but the decrease in organic waste is astounding. Plus, the food scraps help to regenerate our planet. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
We know this can seem overwhelming at first, but just making small tweaks to your cafe operations can have incredible impacts. Our Guide to the Circular Economy is here to help you navigate this exciting journey. And as more and more cafes shift their thinking to a CE system, our planet will be thanking you!